Friday, November 28, 2008

Red

Sweet Jesus, you all want me to dye my hair RED. I really, truly didn't expect that. There are still a few more days left to "vote" in my sidebar "poll", but I'm pretty sure that if I listen to my readers, I'll be a copper top in a few weeks, too.

Truly, I'm nervous about this. Jason always said he'd never dye me that color, since red is a bitch to get out should I ever want to go blonde again. Anybody got any advice on this before I get too far in over my head?

Monday, November 24, 2008

I check out for a few days...

Snd look what happens! One of my lovely Blonde Correspondents becomes a Copper Top!

Think we can entreat her to be my very first Rouge Correspondent? I hope so...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

expert advice

Two separate friends approached me this week for advice and consultation about hair stylists.

Friend #1 is looking for the perfect '40 inspired 'do to accompany her perfect outfit for the LUPEC BOSTON "USO SHOW" this Friday. The situation with Friend #2 is a little more complex: she was looking to break up with her current stylist, who refused to use bleach on her hair and was never available.

I've united friend #2 with Melanie, a stylist at Shag in South Boston. She is overjoyed with her new cut & color. We'll see how I fair for friend #1, who I'm sending to Wendy or Megan at Escape. After three + years as an Undercover Blonde, dare I say I've positioned myself as a "hair style-color expert".

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The LUPEC Boston "USO SHOW"

All of my time lately has been spent planning this. Hope you'll forgive the shameless plug here. And can make it!

Marilyn Monroe performing for troops in Korea

The LUPEC Boston “USO SHOW”

Friday, November 21, 7-11 p.m.

at the Jorge Hernandez Cultural Center


On November 21 the Boston chapter of LUPEC (Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails) will transform the Jorge Hernandez Cultural Center into a swinging 1940's-themed cocktail party featuring retro-libations, live entertainment, dancing, delicious canap├ęs, a prize raffle, and a USO-style variety show. It's a coed event, and all are welcome. This is our second annual large-scale fundraising event and was created to benefit women at The New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans (NESHV). Tickets are $35 in advance/ $45 at the door, and can be purchased at Toro and Tremont 647 in the South End, Grand in Somerville, or online at grandthestore.com.

The LUPEC BOSTON USO SHOW is one component of our annual fall fundraising program, which raised over $10,000 for Jane Doe Inc. last year. Starting November 1, LUPEC Boston will partner with local bars and restaurants to offer a month-long “THIS ONE’S FOR THE LADIES” drink promotion, where participants donate proceeds from one LUPEC Boston-approved beverage to women at NESHV. Restaurant partners include Toro, Tremont 647, La Verdad, Eastern Standard, Rendezvous, Highland Kitchen, Flora, The Milky Way, and more. (For a full list, click here.) Proceeds from sales our recently reprinted cocktail book, THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF COCKTAILS, will also benefit the NESHV this fall.

The New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans is a private, non-profit organization with a mission to extend a helping hand to homeless men and women veterans who are addressing the

Bob Hope entertains the troops
Bob Hope entertains the troops

challenges of addiction, trauma, severe and persistent mental illness, and/or unemployment, and who will commit themselves to sobriety, non-violence, and working for personal change. They are recognized as one of the most effective private veteran's transition programs in the country. Learn more at www.neshv.org.

The LUPEC BOSTON USO SHOW will pay tribute to the 1940’s theme with of-the-era cocktails, a complimentary swing dance lesson, and a USO-style variety show emceed by Cathleen Carr and Daiva Deupree of the critically acclaimed New York-based sketch comedy burlesque Two Girls for Five Bucks. The show will feature acts by Thru the Keyhole Burlesque, Boston-based actor, improviser and stand-up comedian Harry Gordon as Bob Hope, and DJ Brother Cleve, a Boston institution, will spin ‘40s-era swing music throughout the evening. Vintage dress and creative cocktail attire is encouraged.
This event will take place at the Jorge Hernandez Cultural Center [85 W. Newton St., South End, Boston], with generous support from sponsors St-Germain, Hendricks, Cruzan, Milagro, Sazerac, Chartreuse, Mathilde Liqueurs, Harpoon, and SmartWater.

DETAILS:

The LUPEC BOSTON USO SHOW will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday, November 21. Tickets are one sale now. Ticket price is $35 in advance/ $45 at the door and will include cocktail party fare, a variety show, dancing, and four drink tickets, with additional beverages available for purchase.

Light cocktail party fare will be provided for the evening by Toro, Tremont 647, and Lionette's Market, Island Creek Oysters will be on hand shucking their acclaimed “Duxbury Pearls”, and The Boston Derby Dames will skate around with sweets provided by Taza Chocolates.

The USO-style variety show will be emceed by Cathleen Carr and Daiva Deupree of Two Girls for Five Bucks and feature Boston-based actor, improviser and stand-up comedian Harry Gordon, and Thru the Keyhole Burlesque. DJ Brother Cleve will spin ‘40s-era swing music between live acts. Vintage dress and creative cocktail attire is encouraged.

A prize raffle will feature gift certificates donated from Toro, Tremont 647, Myers + Chang, La Verdad, East Coast Grill, Taza Chocolates, Polka Dog Bakery, Vee Vee, Flour Bakery + Cafe, ZipCar, Hollywood Express, A Brix Six Gift Pack from Brix Wine Shop, tickets to the Improv Asylum and Swing City a St-Germain gift basket, a one-year subscription to Imbibe magazine and more.

All proceeds from the LUPEC BOSTON USO SHOW will benefit women at The New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans.

  • Ticket price is $35 in advance/ $45 at the door including cocktail party fare and four drink tickets, with additional beverages available for purchase.
  • Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at:
    • Toro, 1704 Washington St., Boston, MA

About NESHV

The New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans is a private, non-profit organization with a mission to extend a helping hand to homeless men and women veterans who are addressing the challenges of addiction, trauma, severe and persistent mental illness, and/or unemployment, and who will commit themselves to sobriety, non-violence, and working for personal change. They are recognized as one of the most effective private veteran's transition programs in the country. Learn more at www.neshv.org.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Best Cupcakes Ever...

Recipe is below, as promised.

Recipe THE COMPLETE BAKING COOKBOOK by George Geary(Robert Rose, Inc.; Ocotber 2007;$24.95/paperback).

CARROT CAKE

Serves 10-12 * (as a cake; I modified the recipe and poured it into two cupcake trays, one of 12-normal sized cupcakes, one of 24 nano-cupcakes. Then I tried to see how many I could fit into my mouth at once.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Two 9-inch round cake pans, sprayed with non-stick spray (or the aforementioned cupcake trays, lined with paper liners)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup crushed pineapple, drained (I muddled cubed pineapple with a bar muddling stick and strained excess liquid out using a bar strainer: that is how I roll)
1/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 cup shredded carrots

1. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon & nutmeg. Set aside.

2. In a mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, combine sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla until well blended, for 2 minutes. Add pineapple, coconut, and pecans and mix for 1 minute. Using a wooden spoon, gradually stir in flour mixture just until incorporated. Stir in carrots.

3. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 28 - 32 minutes (check them sooner for cupcakes! I took mine out after 20 mins.) Let cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes before transferring to rack to cool completely.

4. For best results for decorating, wrap cake layers in plastic wrap and freeze for 1 to 2 days. (We were eating them almost immediately, so I did not do this.)

George suggests several different icing options for these puppies (all recipes can be found in the book), including Buttercream, Cream Cheese Icing, French Buttercream Frosting, Island Frosting, Seven-Minute Frosting, and Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting. I chose Island: it's recommended for "when the flavor of a cake calls for cream cheese with tropical-island flair. And how! The recipe is below:

ISLAND FROSTING

Makes about 2 cups

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted (oops! Forgot that step; guess I got there after Applejack Manhattan No. 2)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted

1. In a mixer bowl fitted with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth, for 3 minutes. Gradually add confectioner's sugar, mixing on low speed until it gathers, about 2 minutes. Increase speed to high and whip until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Fold in vanilla, pecans, and coconut by hand. (I also let the frosting whip for a little too long, and for this I blame Manhattan 2.5. I simply finished the recipe and stuck it in the fridge for a bit to firm up while the cupcakes cooled.)

Et voila!


YUM!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Birthday Dinner: The Epilogue

So, I repeated Step #11 (a) one and a half more times, meaning that I was actually a little tipsy by the time the Mathematician came home. I didn't think I was , of course. It's perfectly normal to dance around your house while listening to Sweet Talkin' Woman by ELO at max volume on your studio quality stereo sound system, right?

We finally ate dinner at 9:30 and I still feel way too full today. But it was fun. The sauce was amazing. In Italy they take the meats out & slice them, then serve the pasta + sauce as a primi and the meats on their own as secondi. Since the Mathematician asked for meat sauce, I opted for the cookbook's second suggestion: take the meats out, shred them, add them back to the sauce and enjoy. The end result was like if pot roast and roasted pork shoulder and tomato sauce had a baby.

And YES, the carrot cupcakes were awesome! I took a bunch of them to Toro for our monthly staff meeting, and someone ate the rest while I was out for the day. Below: a picture of all that remains.

Since you asked, MamaKrista, I'll be posting the recipe tomorrow.

Now I'm running out the door to see Smashing Pumpkins.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Birthday Dinner: Step 11 (a)


This should seriously have been step 3 or 4. What was I thinking?

Birthday Dinner: Step 10-11

Watching the babies rise. Hit by a nostalgia gesyer when "The Boxer" comes on by Simon & Garfunkel. I suddenly miss being a misunderstood 15 year old with pink hair.



Do the nano cupcakes look burnt?

Birthday Dinner: Step 9

I'm trying my hand at carrot cupcakes from another client's book, The
Complete Baking Cookbook. Here is what was left of the batter after I
"tasted" it.

Birthday Dinner: Step 5, 6, 7, 8

Meats, meet sauce. Slowly, cup by cup for like 3 hours.

Birthday Dinner: Step 4

Dueling pots.

Birthday Dinner: Step 3

Look how pretty with the carrots, celery & parsley!

1 minute 'til I add wine...

Birthday Meal: step 1

I still have 20 minutes before I can add the meats (left) to the
onions (right). And I'm already kinda bored.

Birthday Dinner: Getting started

In about 6 hours this will be a delicious meal.

This is what love looks like.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Birthday meal

Today is the Mathematician's birthday! But we spent it on a plane, so
tomorrow we celebrate.

I'm making Ragu Napoletano from a book I represented last year called
CUCINA DEL SOLE by Nancy Harmon Jenkins. Paraphrasing Jeanne Caroli
Francesconi, the author cautions this dish is "not a simple sauce;
rather 'It is a ritual celebrated weekly in every Neapolitan family
worthy of the name.'"

Neapolitan namesake, here I come.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Afternoon#2 in Portland

A quiet, rainy day at home.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Starting the afternoon off right...

Tamarind Whiskey Sour & Apple Gin Rickey at Pok Pok in Portland. We had these with some chicken wings that Food & Wine deemed one of the "Best Dishes of 2007". They are totally right.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Portland, baby

We just arrived in Portland, OR! I've been looking forward to this relatively short 4-day trip for months. And while I usually use this blog to talk about all things blonde & waitress-y, I hope you'll indulge me as I spend the next few posts tapping into my other alter-ego, Pink Lady of LUPEC Boston.

Ever since I took on a more active role managing the LUPEC Boston blog a few months ago I've been intrigued by Portland's storied cocktail scene. It seemed that every time I opened an issue of Imbibe or checked a new cocktail blog, there was some mention of great cocktails to be had here. I've been dying to check it out ever since.

Plus, one of my best friends from high school lives here, and since we recently reconnected we haven't been able to get enough of each other. Now I jump at the opportunity to come visit, and fortunately the opportunities arise often, as the Mathematician travels here a lot for work.

So, here I am. And for the next four days, you can expect this blog to be all wet.

Cin-cin!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

ooops...

I missed a day. Sorry, NaBloPoMo, I've let you down!

Ah well, as they say in my yoga classes, every time you come to your practice, it's a new beginning. So, today, I begin again.

Is anyone else a little freaked by the fact that it's pitch dark out at 4:45?

Happy Saturday!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

books

I am standing behind the bread table. Some industry friends introduce me to their friend, who it turns out is also a an artist.

GUY: "So, you're a writer, really? Who is your favorite playwright?"

ME: "Playwright.....? Ummm..."

GUY: "Okay, who do you read?"

ME: "Who do I read? Hmm..."

The reality is, working two jobs and using what little time I have in between to write and pursue a myriad of unpaid passion projects means that I don't really read books anymore. Most of what I read is Jezebel, Twitter, and Facebook.

It makes me sad.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

interesting mail

Yesterday, I received a direct mail postcard advertising the grand opening of a new Boylston Street studio that offers "Exotic & Pole Dancing Lessons"?

I assume this dance studio bought a mailing list somewhere and that's how they found me. Is it because I have a Victoria's Secret card? Or did someone tell them that the PR company I work for has recently signed on to represent romance novels and hookers?

I have to know...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

President Obama

Really? Did that just happen?

What a feeling to have your dreams come true.

Monday, November 03, 2008

"ridiculously perky"

Last night one of my tables referred to me as "ridiculously perky" behind my back to one of my managers. In a disparaging, condescending sort of way.

Thing is, I was trying to be super friendly to this table because they appeared to be a miserable couple having a miserable time not enjoying each other's miserable company. I mean, I can show you curt/rude/or catty if that's what you're looking for in a waitress. Just ask my co-workers. In fact, I should have. Instead I wasted my time/energy trying to romance two people who just wanted to be left alone to their own lame devices.

I knew there was something about them that I didn't like. Guess it was the fact that they didn't like me.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Iceland has food (but Toro does not)

Disaster struck at Toro tonight. The corn was 86'd (among other items.) All hell nearly broke loose.

"So, you mean to tell me you're out of Brussels sprouts, bacalao, AND the corn??? You're killing me here!!!" I overheard one guest remark to his waitress.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait," the man at Table 31 said to me in proper, slightly accented English after I rattled off the list of 86's. "You just listed about seven items. Is there anything you DO have on the menu???" If you've ever been to Toro, or any tapas restaurant for that matter, you know -- the menu is comprised of at least like 30 dishes. "Yes, yes, there are some things we DO still have on the menu," I said.

I found Table 31's reaction dramatic, but I tried to remain patient and diplomatic. Running out of a dish is a disappointment that just can't be fixed for a guest, even if you are a super waitress. Culturally, we've been facing a lot of disappointment lately, and I can relate.

Running out of food tonight also reminded me of a podcast I listened to today detailing the economic crisis that currently has Iceland under seige, and the rather dramatic (misconceived) notion that Iceland is actually running out of food. "Tonight, Toro is like Iceland," I told my manager.

Table 31 managed to navigate the menu and had a satisfying dinner. They were very nice in the end, and despite their initial shock, remained patient and polite throughout all the disappointments of their dinner. Later, as I was sliding their table's credit card to cash them out, I realized: the accent, the name on the card, the bank...these people were from Iceland.

I know how bad it feels to be living through the American economic downturn, and all I've heard about the Icelandic crisis is that it's far, far worse.

I wish I could have saved them at least one order of the corn.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

NaBloPoMo!

Well, I officially fell off the Blog 365 wagon in June, but I couldn't help myself when November rolled around again and I was faced afresh with the challenge of blogging every day. I so enjoyed NaBloPoMo last year that I've decided to jump on the bandwagon yet again. Maybe it will become an annual tradition for me?

Who's with me? Click here if you're up to the challenge, too.